“We just need to wait.” This is what a woman in Gorlovka said to me, when I was photographing her apartment destroyed by another Ukrainian attack. To wait for what? “For peace, of course. Just a little longer,” she replied. These people have been thinking of it for a long nine years. The conflict in Donbass began in 2014. It claimed or derailed thousands of lives, and left hundreds of people homeless. Many residents were forced to leave their homes, but most decided to stay and wait for the long-coveted peace on their land. This story is about the people who chose to stay in their homeland no matter what. In February 2022, the President of Russia signed the executive orders recognizing the LPR and DPR, and later Russia announced the special military operation to protect the residents of Donbass.
“We just need to wait”
An elderly woman standing in her neighbor’s burned-out house in Yelenovka, a village near Donetsk. A Ukrainian projectile directly hit the roof, and the house immediately caught fire. Fortunately, theownersurvived.
A mother grieving over the body of her 14-year-old son who was traveling on a bus past the Donetsk central market, when it was hit by a Ukrainian projectile during a massive rocket attack. Six peopledied.
An MRLS Grad projectile in a math classroom at Donetsk National University of Economics and Trade. Two floors of the building were seriously damaged. Although there were faculty members on one of the floors at the time of the Ukrainian attack, fortunately, everyone survived.
Emergencies Ministry teams clear the rubble after a Ukrainian shell hit a shopping center in Donetsk. Two employees at a local pharmacy were killed; their bodies were found almost a day after the tragedy.
An Emergencies Ministry team takes a rest after a long and grueling effort to extinguish a fire at an oil depot in Shakhtersk. The fuel tanks caught fire as a resut of a Ukrainian shelling attack.
Medics and civilians carrying a Donetsk resident into an ambulance after she was wounded by shrapnel in a direct hit on her house by a Ukrainian shell.
A man stands in confusion near his house, which was hit by a shell during a Ukrainian attack on the city.
An icon hanging over a bed belonging to a woman who received multiple shrapnel wounds during Ukrainian shelling.
A man smokes a cigarette amid the ruins of his house after yet another Ukrainian attack. His wife has been taken to hospital with multiple shrapnel wounds. He and his daughter were in other rooms and escaped injury.
A civilian on a bicycle watching a fire at an oil depot caused by a Ukrainian rocket attack.
A boy outside a damaged residential building in Panteleimonovka, where one person died when Ukraine fired a Tochka-U tactical missile at the village. The attack took place at night; the man was sleeping in his bed, while his son and wife were in other rooms. He died from his injuries on the spot.
A terrible tragedy occurred at a Gorlovka secondary school in February 2022. Two woman teachers died from severe shrapnel wounds. Their mutilated bodies were found in one of the classrooms. The women were sitting peacefully at their desks, when a Ukrainian projectile hit the playground outside. There were no children in the school: schools in the DPR had transitioned to a remote learning system for security reasons.